We’d had a great trip serving and sharing the good news in St. Louis. I saw our teens dig down deep and truly show The love of God through the way they interacted with the elderly, kids, and the poor. When I came home, I started feeling like we needed to do more of that sort of living on a regular basis in our own home state. I became discouraged as I searched for meaningful ways to serve on a regular basis in my area. I just couldn’t seem to find any ongoing program that met our availability, age range, and had requirements that were desirable. What was I going to do to keep the fire going?
On that trip, our students had gained sympathy for homeless people and really wanted to share the good news with them through prayer, meeting practical needs, and conversation. It was decided that we’d start our own program called “Breaking Free”. We hoped that God would set the poor free from their spiritual burdens, but I also wanted us to break free from prioritizing our own contentment because God’s love shines brightest though our purposes not our comforts. To remind us of our goals with the homeless, as well as ourselves, we picked this verse:
“It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows.” Galatians 5:13.
We started discussing possibilities, what needs we could meet and how we could meet them. We thought about the common situation of seeing homeless people holding signs, and not quite being sure how to help. It was decided that we wanted to provide care packages to the homeless via the members of our congregation keeping them in their cars and handing them out as they encountered needs. These kits contained items such as socks, snacks, water, bible or spiritual book, deodorant, toothbrush, etc. as well as a personalized note card from a student in our youth group.
Next, we decided to have a “World Banquet” based off a previous mission trip experience to raise support and money to buy the items for the packages. This banquet educates about poverty in a powerful way and the details on how to do it were all outlined for us in the book called Plunge 2 Poverty by Jimmy and Janet Dorrell. You can find it at amazon.com. It was awesome to see the youth group leading the way and gaining support for this effort to evangelize to the homeless.
What ways have you found to join your teens and adult congregation together to serve and share? What have you done to continue God’s work after a mission trip?